Re-Reading Vitoria: Re-Conceptualising the Responsibility of Rebel Movements

In: Nordic Journal of International Law
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  • 1 University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

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This article begins with an analysis of the concept of responsibility elaborated in the jurisprudence of Francisco de Vitoria. It is argued that Vitoria’s concept of responsibility plays a central role in his construction of an international legal framework for the management of the Indians by the Spanish, a ‘management model’ which operated so as to legitimise Spanish administration of the colonised world and ultimately, to consolidate the emerging authority of the European sovereign state. In the second part of the article this re-reading of Vitoria forms the basis of reflection on present international law and practice regarding the responsibility of rebel movements. It is used to challenge the idea that the increased engagement with rebel movements by international organisations and legal scholars since the end of the Cold War is necessarily a liberalising and emancipatory move.

  • 14

    Orford, ibid., pp. 173–174.

  • 18

    Pagden, supra note 15, p. 66.

  • 24

    Niemelä, supra note 15, pp. 307–309; Kennedy, supra note 16, pp. 10–13, 39.

  • 25

    Orford, supra note 7, pp. 174–175.

  • 26

    Koskenniemi, supra note 8, p. 230.

  • 29

    A. Orford, ‘The Past as Law or History? The Relevance of Imperialism for Modern International Law’, IILJ Working Paper 2012/2 (2012) p. 8.

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  • 31

     Quoted in Hanke, supra note 6, p. 11.

  • 34

    Hanke, supra note 6, p. 78.

  • 35

    Pagden, supra note 15, p. 72.

  • 39

    Hanke, supra note 6, pp. 19–20; ibid., pp. 83–85.

  • 40

    Williams, ibid., p. 84.

  • 41

    Hanke, supra note 6, pp. 23–25; ibid., pp. 86–88.

  • 42

    Williams, ibid., p. 91.

  • 43

    Hanke, supra note 6, p. 33; Ibid., pp. 91–92.

  • 45

    Nys, supra note 17, p. 87. See also Pagden, supra note 15, pp. 79 et seq., who discusses this at length.

  • 46

    Nys, ibid., p. 88, citing E. J. Payne, History of the New World called America, vol. I (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1892).

  • 51

    Williams, supra note 33, p. 96. Regarding the ecclesiastical aspect of this conflict, see Nys, supra note 17, pp. 72–74.

  • 52

    Tuck, supra note 6, p. 72. Also on this point see Niemelä, supra note 15, pp. 326–327.

  • 54

    Williams, supra note 33, p. 96.

  • 55

    Vitoria, supra note 3, p. 127.

  • 56

    Schmitt, supra note 15, pp. 102–103.

  • 58

    Williams, supra note 33, p. 95.

  • 59

    Vitoria, supra note 3, p. 127.

  • 60

    Williams, supra note 33, p. 100 et seq.

  • 61

    Pagden, supra note 15, p. 104.

  • 62

    Anghie, supra note 2, p. 22.

  • 63

    Vitoria, supra note 3, p. 151.

  • 64

    Pagden, supra note 15, p. 105.

  • 66

    Tuck, supra note 6, pp. 72, 75.

  • 68

    Williams, ibid., pp. 97–98.

  • 70

    Anghie, supra note 2, p. 21.

  • 71

    Vitoria, supra note 3, pp. 151–153, 156–159.

  • 73

    Vitoria, supra note 3, p. 159.

  • 77

    Anghie, ibid., pp. 21–22.

  • 78

    Pagden, supra note 15, pp. 79–80; Ibid., pp. 22, 28–29.

  • 79

    According to Vitoria, “we all have one common Lord, before whose tribunal we shall have to render account”, supra note 3, p. 187.

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  • 94

    Anghie, supra note 2, p. 28.

  • 95

    Buchanan and Johnson, supra note 19, pp. 132–133.

  • 97

    Pagden, supra note 15, pp. 80–83.

  • 98

    Spivak, supra note 20, pp. 125, 130.

  • 101

    Zegveld, ibid., p. 3.

  • 116

    Krause and Milliken, supra note 114, p. 202.

  • 118

    The Lacina and Gleditsch report, supra note 111, was subject to a well-publicised controversy. See M. Spagat et al., ‘Estimating War Deaths: An Arena of Contestation’, 53 Journal of Conflict Resolution (2009) p. 934.

  • 119

    Zegveld, supra note 99, pp. 9 et seq.; J. Somer, ‘Jungle Justice: Passing Sentence on the Equality of Belligerents in Non-International Armed Conflict’, 89 International Review of the Red Cross (2007) p. 656; La Rosa and Wuerzner, supra note 105, p. 328; Kleffner, supra note 100, p. 247; Clapham, supra note 102, pp. 6 et seq.; Sassòli, supra note 102, p. 12; A. Bellal et al., ‘International Law and Armed Non-State Actors in Afghanistan’, 93 International Review of the Red Cross (2011) pp. 53 et seq.; Ryngaert and van de Meulebroucke, supra note 100, p. 444; Moffett, supra note 102, p. 4.

  • 122

    Sassòli, supra note 102, p. 14.

  • 126

    Krause and Milliken, supra note 114, p. 202.

  • 127

    Anghie, supra note 2, pp. 15–16; Pagden, supra note 15, p. 65.

  • 129

    Foucault, supra note 125, p. 40.

  • 130

    Niemelä, supra note 15, p. 337.

  • 131

    Schmitt, supra note 15, pp. 109–110.

  • 136

    Balkin, supra note 133, pp. 759–761.

  • 140

    Vitoria, supra note 3, pp. 167–170. C.f. Anghie, supra note 2, p. 26, arguing that the Indians “are by definition incapable of waging a just war”. While we have seen that in practice it will always be the Spaniards with justice on their side, it does not seem tenable, however, that the Indians are by definition excluded from waging war, as Vitoria states that, “the Indians themselves sometimes wage lawful wars with one another”, supra note 3, p. 160.

  • 142

    Schmitt, supra note 15, p. 121.

  • 143

    Orford, supra note 141, pp. 13–16.

  • 146

    Foucault, supra note 125, p. 40.

  • 147

    Krause and Milliken, supra note 114, p. 202.

  • 149

    Niemelä, supra note 15, p. 335.

  • 153

    Orford, supra note 141.

  • 168

    Foucault, supra note 125, p. 42.

  • 170

    Foucault, supra note 125, p. 42.

  • 173

    Foucault, supra note 125, p. 42.

  • 174

    Niemelä, supra note 15, p. 336.

  • 175

    Koskenniemi, supra note 8, p. 239.

  • 176

    Sassòli, supra note 102, p. 50.

  • 177

    Mégret, supra note 150, p. 266.

  • 178

    Niemelä, supra note 15, p. 337.

  • 186

    Orford, ibid., pp. 287–288.

  • 187

    Niemelä, supra note 15, p. 336.

  • 191

    Spivak, supra note 20, p. 6.

  • 192

    Mégret, supra note 150, p. 270.

  • 195

    Buchanan and Johnson, supra note 19, pp. 139, 156–157, drawing on arguments developed by Orford in the context of humanitarian intervention. See A. Orford, ‘Muscular Humanitarianism: Reading the Narratives of the New Interventionism’, 10 European Journal of International Law (1999) p. 679.

  • 196

    Spivak, supra note 20, p. 284; M. Mutua, ‘Savages, Victims, and Saviors: The Metaphor of Human Rights’, 42 Harvard International Law Journal (2001) p. 201.

  • 197

    Buchanan and Johnson, supra note 19, pp. 139–140.

  • 199

    Orford, supra note 135, p. 284.

  • 200

    Orford, supra note 195, pp. 708 et seq.

  • 201

    Koskenniemi, supra note 8, p. 239.

  • 202

    Niemelä, supra note 15, p. 343.

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